Topic Name Description
Course Syllabus Page Course Syllabus
1.1: Presenting to an Audience Page The Benefits of Learning How to Speak Publicly

Watch this video, which summarizes three benefits of learning how to present for an audience.

Page How to Speak So People Want to Listen

This short talk offers a foundation for both parts of our course: preparing for and delivering a presentation. As you proceed through this course, keep the HAIL model in mind. Practice using the voice tools demonstrated here to see how they affect your audience.

1.2: The Communication Model Page The Communication Process

Watch this video, which considers these models in more depth. For this course, think about your presentation as a transaction you have with the people in your audience.

Page Communication Models

Watch this video, which introduces several communication models.

1.3: Feedback Page Reading Audience Feedback

This short article discusses how the feedback process works during a presentation and how a speaker gathers feedback from an audience.

1.4: Context and Interference Page The Communications Process

Read this chapter to explore the simultaneous transmission and interaction aspects of communication. The relational and cultural context can affect how your message is transmitted and communicated.

Page Transactional Model of Communication

Review this communication model to explore the things that can affect our understanding of a given interaction.

2.1: Audience Analysis Page What is Audience Analysis?

Read this chapter, which explains the importance of audience analysis. Pay attention to three types of audience analysis; demographic, situation, and psychological. Make sure the reasons you use to make judgments about your audience are accurate.

2.2: Gathering Audience Information Page How to Conduct Audience Analysis

Read this chapter for more ideas on how to conduct audience analysis.

2.3: Choosing the Right Language Page The Importance of Language

Read this article, which explains how to use language creatively while avoiding jargon and obscenities.

Page Word Choice

This short article explains how to choose your words wisely.

2.4: Using Inclusive Language Page Inclusive Language

Inclusivity also refers to avoiding words your audience may find disrespectful, condescending, or patronizing. This guide for U.S. federal employees offers specific guidance on terms that are less offensive to listeners. Keep in mind that the public meaning of these words often changes with time.

2.5: Using Simple Language Page Using the Right Tone

Read this article, which differentiates between simple and complex language.

3.1: How to Choose Your Topic Page Choosing a Topic

This article gives an overview of this process, which we will cover in more detail later.

3.2: Topics that are Relevant to You Page Finding and Selecting a Topic

Read this chapter, which offers advice on how to determine your areas of expertise and interest. It explains how to narrow your topic to make it manageable using a process called scoping.

Page How to Choose a Topic

Mind mapping is one way to brainstorm and determine the scope of your topic. This resource explains how to approach topic choice and offers creative strategies for developing a focus.

3.3: Topics that are Relevant to the Audience Page Choosing a Relevant Topic

Watch this video on choosing a relevant topic.

3.4: Topics that are Relevant to the Occasion Page Consider the Occasion

The occasion of your presentation should influence the material you choose, how you approach your subject matter, and the language you use. This article looks at the aspects you should consider as you plan your presentation.

4.1: General Purpose – Presentations Page Finding Your Purpose

Read this chapter, which explains how to identify your general purpose.

Page Your Purpose and Central Idea

Watch this video, which discusses the general purpose, specific purposes, and thesis (or central idea) statements.

4.1.1: Presenting to Inform Page Informative Speeches

Pay attention to the "Getting Plugged In" section in this article. Watch one of the talks to get an idea of how the pieces fit together.

Page Could a Saturn Moon Harbor Life?

Watch this short demonstration of an informative presentation.

4.1.2: Presenting to Persuade Page Persuasive Speeches

Read this description of how to approach different kinds of persuasive presentations.

Page How to Use Rhetoric to Get What you Want

Watch this video, which explains how persuasive presentations work. Think about the types of persuasion you have participated in recently.

4.1.3: Presenting to Entertain Page Entertaining Speeches

Read this chapter to learn about presentations whose general purpose is to entertain.

4.2: Specific Purpose – Presentations Page Specific Purposes

Read this chapter, which explains what a specific purpose statement is and why you should create one for your presentation.

Page Developing Your Specific Purpose

Watch this video to learn how to develop your topic, general, and specific purpose statements.

4.3: Writing a Thesis Page Developing Your Thesis

Read this brief article, which gives some ideas for what to consider as you develop your thesis.

Page Establishing a Purpose and a Thesis

Read this review of how to develop a clear and articulate thesis.

Page The Goal of Your Thesis

Watch this short video that summarizes the goal of a thesis and how to develop it.

4.4: Main Points and Speech Patterns Page Determine Your Main Points

Read this article to learn how to choose your main points and an appropriate speech pattern.

4.5: Introductions and Conclusions Page Why Introductions Matter

Read this exploration of what you should include in your introduction.

Page Introduction

Read this text, which gives examples for each part of the introduction.

Page How to Write an Introduction

Watch this short video, which summarizes what you should provide in your introduction.

Page Why Conclusions Matter

This article explores the goal of a well-developed conclusion. Pay attention to ending with a "concluding device", which is a theme we will return to.

Page Conclusions

Watch this short video, which explains how to create a powerful conclusion.

4.6: Getting the Audience's Attention Page Incorporating an Attention-Getter

In your conclusion, leave your audience with something to think about that will help them remember what you talked about. Many call this a final thought, which you should make sure is memorable and carefully constructed.

Page How to Begin Your Speech

Watch this video by a professional speechwriter that focuses on how to get an audience's attention.

Page Steps for Creating a Conclusion

This article explains how the attention-grabbing devices you use in your introduction can help you develop a powerful conclusion.

Page Parts of a Conclusion

Watch this short video, which describes what you should include in your conclusion.

4.7: Transitions Page The Importance of Transitions

Read this article, which describes how transitions function within a presentation.

Page Keep Your Speech Moving

Read this section, which describes different transitions and demonstrates how to use them to keep your speech moving.

Page Incorporating Transitions

Watch this video about where to transition and what transitions do for your presentation.

5.1: Types of Supporting Content Page Researching and Supporting Your Speech

This article explores materials you can use to support your argument and where you can find them.

5.1.1: Facts and Statistics Page Finding Relevant Facts and Statistics

This article gives some reference information that will help you get started with your research.

Page How Statistics Can Be Misleading

Be sure to evaluate how the researchers conducted their investigations and made their conclusions. Watch this short video, which explains how statistics can misrepresent real-world situations.

Page Three Ways to Spot a Bad Statistic

Watch this video, which explains how to discern good and bad statistics.

5.1.2: Examples and Stories Page Using Examples

Read this article, which explores how to use examples effectively.

Page Using Your Life Experience

Read this article, which explores how to integrate stories into your presentation as supporting material.

Page How to Tell a Great Story

Watch these two videos, which explain how to tell a story for maximum impact.

Page The Transformative Power of Storytelling

Read this short article on the transformative power of storytelling.

Page Keys to Great Storytelling

Watch this talk on how to tell a story.

Page Incorporating Examples

Since it can be difficult to find the perfect story to prove your point, you may need to create a hypothetical example that is plausible and grounded in fact. Always be transparent about where your story originated to maintain your credibility. Review this article for some examples.

5.2: Using Credible Sources Page Credibility Appeals

Read this article, which explains how the sources you use can influence your credibility as a presenter.

Page Ethics, Plagiarism, and Reliable Sources

Read this article, which presents an ethical framework for choosing and integrating sources into your presentation.

Page Credibility and Trustworthiness of Online Sources

This article offers another viewpoint about reviewing the credibility and trustworthiness of online sources.

5.3: Finding Appropriate Sources Page Research Strategies

Read this article on how to begin your research process.

Page Gathering Reliable Information

Read this article for a list of places to find the information you need.

Page Using Sources to Find More Sources

Bibliographies can help you find sources for your presentation. They list the resources an author referenced when they wrote a book about a given topic. Read this toolkit on how to identify and find sources from citations.

Page Evaluating Sources for Credibility

Searching for information online is a skill. Will the information support the arguments you plan to use in your presentation? Are the sources accurate and reputable? What about the organization or company that provides the material? How will your audience perceive or react to this source? Watch this video about how to recognize the value and quality of sources you find online.

5.4: Critically Analyzing Your Research Page Evaluating the Accuracy of a Source

First, consider whether the source material is accurate. One of the easiest ways to check for accuracy is to see if you can find another independent source that corroborates your information. Will your audience members believe your statements or demand additional proof? Watch this video, which will walk you through some tips to help you make this determination.

Page Evaluating the Reputation of a Source

Next, consider the reputation of the source. Is the source of the information you plan to use respected in the community? Does it have an established track record for accuracy that will resonate with your audience, or will it damage your argument's credibility? This video uses a process called the 5 Cs to walk through an assessment of a source. How can you put this method to work for you?

Page Evaluating the Credibility of a Website

Watch this short overview of things to look at when evaluating a website.

Page Evaluating the Reputation of an Author

Read this article, which explores why and how to assess the reputation of an author.

Page Evaluating Sources for Audience and Purpose

Finally, what does your audience think about your source? Your source could be entirely accurate and reputable, but your audience may have had negative experiences or preconceptions about its authenticity that could resonate poorly and undermine your credibility. Consider the consequences of using a source like this, and be prepared to defend your reasons for using it during your presentation. Watch this video, which walks through the process of choosing sources.

5.5: Citing Your Sources Page Acknowledging Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

This article explains why you should acknowledge your sources during your presentation.

Page Common Citation Formats

This article explains two common citation formats, MLA and APA. It also has a great quick reference you can use as you document your sources.

Page How to Cite Your Sources

Read this article, which offers more specifics on giving citations during your presentation.

6.1: Why Use Presentation Aids? Page What to Do and Not to Do for a Presentation

Read these basic guidelines for creating and using visuals.

Page Designing a Presentation

Read this chapter, which identifies the different purposes your presentation aids should serve.

Page Organizing a Visual Presentation

Your presentation aids can reinforce your presentation's structure and help you transition from one point to another. They should guide the audience and keep you on track. Read this section for some tips on organizing your presentation.

6.2: Design Elements Page Designing Visual Aids

Read this page for more background and examples.

Page Incorporating Effective Visuals

Read this page for more discussion and tips for developing and using different types of presentation aids.

Page Guidelines for Visual Aids

Watch this short video, which offers a clear set of presentational aid guidelines.

7.1: Examples of Great Presenters Page Great Presentations: A Traditional Address

Watch President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address to see a traditional style of speech that is popular in law school.

File Great Presentations: Using Pauses to Captivate

Listen to this podcast to hear how President Barack Obama uses pauses to great effect with an engaging, rolling cadence. He uses words that relate to the feelings of his audience to captivate and inspire.

Page Great Presentations: The Great Communicator

President Ronald Reagan often incorporated jokes and personal stories into his speeches, a style that led listeners to characterize him as "the great communicator".

7.2: Nonverbal Presentation Skills Page Nonverbal Communication

Read this section, which describes how we communicate nonverbally and the role of nonverbal communication.

7.3: Using Your Voice Page Your Vocal Toolbox

Watch the second half of this talk that you saw earlier in the course to hear examples of each tool in your "vocal toolbox".

Page Speaking and Voice

Watch this video to hear how presenters use their voices to support their message.

Page Using Your Voice Effectively in Speech

Watch this video, which discusses how to use your voice and offers an opportunity to practice.

Page Great Presentations: The Danger of Silence

Watch this short video, where a poet and teacher transitions from extemporaneous speaking to a memorized spoken-word performance. Notice how his vocal dynamics change as he interprets his poem for his audience.

7.4: Voice Dynamics Page Effective Vocal Delivery

Read this article, which explains how to use voice dynamics to enhance your message.

Page Vocal Delivery

In addition to discussing rate, volume and pitch, this reading introduces the concepts of fluency and conversational tone.

Page Pump up the Volume

Watch this video to see a demonstration of how you can use your voice for great effect.

7.5: Pacing Page Adjusting Your Pace

Read this brief article that presents techniques for adjusting your pace.

7.6: Conversational Tone Page Using Tone to Engage

Watch this video, which offers examples of what we mean by conversational tone.

7.7: Fluency Page Using Fluency to Engage

Watch this video which demonstrates how to pause during your presentation to help communicate your message to your audience.

Page Fluency and Voice Dynamics

Watch this video to see some more pauses in action. How do pauses impact what you learn from the presentation?

7.8: Using Your Body Page Recharge Your Vocal Energy with Movement

Watch this video for examples of what it means to use your body language during a presentation.

Page Facial Expressions

Watch this video to learn how to match your facial expression with the content of your topic.

7.9: Gestures Page What to Do with Your Hands

Watch this video, which demonstrates how to use your hands when you present and how your body language can convey meaning to your audience.

Page Using Gestures for Effect

Watch this video to see some common mistakes people make when presenting.

7.10 Eye Contact Page Mastering Eye Contact

This video explains why it is important to maintain eye contact to show your audience you are conversing with them.

8.1: Types of Presentations Page Delivering a Speech

This text offers an overview of the types of presentation delivery methods, which we will review in more detail later.

8.2: Impromptu Presentations Page How to Give an Impromptu Speech

Watch this video for explicit guidance on how to present an impromptu presentation.

8.3: Extemporaneous Presentations Page Extemporaneous Speeches

Read this article, which summarizes the basics of extemporaneous presentations, as compared to impromptu speeches.

Page Giving an Extemporaneous Speech

Watch this video for an explanation of extemporaneous speaking.

8.4: Manuscript Presentations Page Speaking from a Manuscript

Read this article, which offers more insight on manuscript speaking.

8.5: Memorized Presentations Page Why You Should Not Memorize Your Speech

Watch this video to learn why most professionals discourage speakers from memorizing their presentations.

9.1: Presenting Online Page Online Public Speaking

Read this introduction, which summarizes what we will cover in this section.

Page Why Lectures are Dead (or Soon Will Be)

Read this article to learn how educators are increasingly using lecture capture technologies to record their lectures so students can watch and review their recorded presentations later.

9.2: Webinars Page Delivering an Effective Webinar

Watch this video of a recorded webinar presentation to learn how to make your webinar presentations more effective. It is a long presentation, but worth viewing!

Page Webinars are Better but not Best

This article describes some negative aspects of the webinar format, such as the fact that many are "about telling, not reflecting, doing or collaborating".

9.3: Guidelines for Online Presentations Page Presenting Online

Read this short text to help transition to an online presentation format. What stays the same, and what changes?

Page Recording Your Online Presentation

Watch this short video to help recognize the similarities and differences between live and online presentations, and to see how to set up a recorded presentation.

9.3.1: Screen Presence and Camera Placement Page How to Use Your Webcam

Watch this video for tips on how to adjust your webcam to make yourself look good. These include adjusting for appropriate headroom, using proper eye contact and eye level, stabilizing your laptop, and using proper lighting.

9.3.2: Lighting Page Setting Up Good Lighting

Watch this video, which offers a demonstration of the importance of proper lighting.

Page Lighting Tips

Watch this short video for ideas on how to test your lighting.

9.3.3: Background Page Creating Your Visual Background

Watch this a quick tip for how to troubleshoot for background noise before your presentation. Creating a video to pinpoint sound issues can also help you identify visual distractors you may not notice otherwise.

9.3.4: Sound and Vocal Delivery Page Maintaining a Conversational Tone

Watch this brief video for ideas for how to maintain a conversational tone. Being comfortable with the technologies you use is very important.

9.3.5: Eye Contact Page Maintaining Eye Contact with an Online Audience

Watch this quick tip on how to maintain eye contact with a remote audience.

9.3.6: Movement Page Dress and Posture

Read these tips on how to use your dress, posture, personal visualizations, and pauses to engage your audience during a face-to-face or online presentation.

Page Seven Tips for Presenting Online

Watch this video for advice on how to present during a teleconference. What movement guidelines apply during this type of online presentation?

Prior to Your Presentation Page Using Your Presentation Aids

Watch this video about how to use your presentation aid.

Page Leveraging Your Media Options

Read this short article, which summarizes standard presentation options.

Page Presentation Aids that Distract

Watch this video, which shows how presentation aids can distract your audience. In this example, viewers may spend more time trying to decipher the charts rather than listening to the speaker's words. Notice how the speaker spends more time looking at his visuals than his audience!

Page Presentation Aids that Enhance

Read this chapter to learn how to prepare your visual aids and how to use them when the time comes.

10.2: Revealing and Concealing Your Presentation Aids Page Using Visual Aids

Read this text for practical guidelines for using your presentation aid effectively.

10.3: Working with Technology Page Preparing for Technology Failures

Read these tips on how to prepare for technology failures during your presentation.

11.1 Communicating with a Live Audience Page Communicating with a Live Audience

Read this chapter for an overview of the issues and potential complications of public speaking.

Page The Science of Stage Fright (and How to Overcome It)

Watch this video, which explains what public speaking anxiety or "stage fright" is and what you can do to manage it.

Page Managing Speech Anxiety

Watch this video, which introduces the concept of communication apprehension (the umbrella term which includes public speaking anxiety) and offers some techniques for managing it.

Page Speaking with Confidence

Read this chapter, which offers advice and encouragement to help you manage your anxiety, reduce stress, and present in a public setting with confidence.

11.2: Adapting to Your Audience Page Adapting to Your Audience

Read this advice on how you can read your audience and respond to their feedback during your presentation.

11.3: Preparing for Questions from the Audience Page Managing Audience Questions

Read these tips on how to prepare for and handle the question-and-answer section of your presentation.

Page Responding to Hostile Questions

Watch this video to learn strategies for handling an audience member who uses the question-and-answer time to express hostility.

Page Tips for Handling Questions

Read this text for more ideas on ways to respond to questions during your presentation.

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